February 16, 2023 -- Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a $250,000 donation from the City of Houston to the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) Emergency Relief Fund for artists affected by the December fire at Winter Street Studios. The press conference took place inside the burned-out studios at Sawyer Yards in Houston's Arts District.
Speakers included Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Council Member Karla Cisneros, Houston Arts Alliance Board Chair Michele Leal Farah, Winter Street Studios artists and fire victims Gerardo Parra Jr. and Holly Nowak, and Executive Director of Fresh Arts and Arts District Lead Angela Carranza.
“Born out of this tragedy is the knowledge that Houstonians are always there for each other,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We are here for the affected artists and think of them in these trying times. With our help, we hope the artists are soon able to get back into their creative spaces and resume their contribution to the creative economy.” Mayor Turner also issued a challenge for fellow Houstonians to come together and match the City’s contribution.
The Houston Arts Alliance received 64 applications from Winter Street artists reporting more than $2.5 million in damages, so the arts community is beyond grateful for the donation.
“We are beyond thankful to Mayor Turner, known to our community as the Arts Mayor, for this historic gift.” says HAA Board Chair, Michele Leal Farah. “The Houston Arts Alliance established the Disaster Services program just after Harvey because the community demanded a more secure future from disasters. Houston should be proud of this program. It is the only one of its kind in the nation, and it is supported by private donations from the community it serves. Artists and cultural institutions are a critical part of our City’s economy and community. Today, I am glad it is here to help the artists of Winter Street.”